Rachel Tennant, the program coordinator of the Department of Physical Education, Athletics and Recreation, still remembers her first five-kilometre run. She doesn’t remember how old she was, but the impression is still fresh in her mind: “I remember coming and saying to my partner, ‘I ran five K!’ I was so excited! I never thought I could, and now I’m training for a half-marathon. This is for anybody!”
Tennant and assistant program coordinator Cameron Walker are helping ambitious UTM students via the “Learn to Run” clinic, which culminates with the five-kilometre St. Patrick’s Day run, held in downtown Toronto. This term’s Learn to Run is a free nine-week course for any student of any exercise experience. The program focusses on the fundamentals of interval running to improve endurance; for example, one-minute walk periods are added between runs.
“Learning to run is learning to recognize how to run at a speed that will enable you to make the distance, and increasing your cardiovascular endurance,” Tennant explains. “Most people can get out there and run one minute and walk one minute, but when you increase your running distance while [still] walking the one minute, that’s when people start to struggle.”
It has sometimes been alleged that the clinic’s regimen is too easy, but Tennant promises that there are multiple challenges and goals the program meets. “It’s beneficial for students to meet different people with a common goal. Improved posture, run technique, stretching, and breathing are some of the other benefits found in participation in the clinic,” she adds.
Learn to Run clinics are free for all UTM students. For those looking to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day run, there is a $40 entry fee, which includes a bowl of chili or Irish stew from the Steam Whistle Brewery after the run.
The UTM Running Club will be meeting every Monday and Wednesday from 4 to 5 p.m. For more information about the clinic and the St. Patrick’s Day run, contact Rachel Tennant at email@example.com.